Government, academics and police gather for social cohesion conference

Holding Hands

More than a quarter of Australians are born overseas, and the country's long history of immigration has helped develop a society with a rich tapestry of cultures and religions. Building on Australia's history of multiculturalism, governments and authorities must search for new opportunities to advance social cohesion and intercultural dialogue.
To examine how Australia can promote community cohesion and enhance its proud track record of multiculturalism, the University of Western Sydney is hosting a national conference featuring representatives from the Government, the Opposition, as well as academic, community and police leaders.

The Advancing Community Cohesion Conference (ACCC) will take place from 
July 15-17 at the UWS Parramatta campus, in the heart of Sydney's multicultural western suburbs. With over one third of its students having a language background other than English, UWS is uniquely placed to host the event.

The conference will be opened by HE General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Guest speakers include:

  • Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services
  • Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader for Science
  • Mr Michael Ebeid, CEO & Managing Director, Special Broadcasting Service 
  • Mr Nick Kaldas, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner 
  • Commander Brian McDonald, Australian Federal Police
  • Professor Peter Shergold AC, University of Western Sydney Chancellor
  • Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner 
  • Mr Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner

Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM, the Director of UWS Equity and Diversity, convenes the conference.

"Australia is a modern success story, home to a diverse society of people with origins in over 200 nations speaking over 300 languages, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages," says Dr Ozdowski.

"Economic and social equality is vital to ensure social cohesion, and culturally diverse societies such as Australia must continue to encourage civic participation to promote inclusion."

"To ensure Australia is well equipped to deal with the challenges of a rapidly changing international political and economic structure, policy makers must remain alert to new ideas and international best practice."

Other speakers at the conference include:

  • Dr Jan Ali, Senior Lecturer, UWS, Australian Muslims as Radicalised 'Other' and Their Experiences of Social Exclusion
  • Associate Professor Anne Aly, Curtin University. Australian Values and Participatory Citizenship: Educational Approaches in Countering Violent Extremism
  • Professor Kevin Dunn, Dean, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, UWS, A Critical Reflection on the Link between racism and disaffection
  • Professor Farida Fozdar, Future Fellow, University of Western Australia Bowling Together: Is Social Cohesion in a Diverse Society Possible? 
  • Professor Andrew Markus FASSA, Monash University, Social Cohesion in Australia: the past, current trends and the future
  • Ms Lucy Morgan, Information & Policy Coordinator, Refugee Council of Australia, A place to call home? The impact of Australia's refugee and asylum seeker policies on community cohesion
  • Professor Mehmet Ozalp, Director, Centre for Islamic Sciences & Civilization (CISAC), Faculty of Arts, Charles Sturt University. Barriers to Social Cohesion in Western Societies and Their Manifestations in Islam-West Relations. 

For more information about the conference program, please visit the website


1 July 2015

Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer

By submitting a comment you acknowledge you agree with the Terms and Conditions.